Family-owned businesses have a strong propensity to fail by the time the founder’s grandchildren have been granted ownership. In fact, the majority of family enterprises go out of business or get sold before the second generation even has the opportunity to take over. And in the current business climate of globalization, corporate buyouts and big box dominance, leading a family owned business is even harder. Yet in our midst is a family owned company that has flourished for five generations. Lincoln Creek Lumber has proudly served the communities of Lewis and Thurston Counties for over a century.
Lincoln Creek Lumber Company began in 1903 as a mill. The original mill survived the Great Depression by reselling lumber and mouldings from other mills. Lincoln Creek Lumber Company has enjoyed long term success primarily due to their consistently good service and ability to adapt to change.
As the community grew and changed, so did Lincoln Creek Lumber Company. In 1947, the Lincoln Creek Lumber operations moved from its original site to the location it occupies today in Centralia. Then in 1972, Lincoln Creek Lumber further adapted to the changing business environment by expanding product and service offerings and joining the Ace Hardware Co-Op.
Currently, Lincoln Creek Lumber has stores in Tumwater, Centralia, and Chehalis as well as a lumberyard in Chehalis offering a complete assortment of lumber and building materials, paint and supplies, power tools, job site deliveries and even unique gift and garden ware.
Darrell McGregor is the store manager for Lincoln Creek Lumber Centralia store which is part of the Ace Hardware Co-Op and well known for the variety of its lumber and tools. Jeremy Scott, General Manager for Lincoln Creek Lumber explains, “Ace Hardware is a co-op that supplies services and materials to over 4,000 stores worldwide. Their focus as well as ours is customer service. That’s why we are independently owned Ace store. We share that common value. We believe our customers success is our success.”
Justin Stroup, Manager of the Market Street Ace Hardware store in Chehalis shares, “We are a unique hardware store in that we have all the customary items like hand tools but we also have distinctive items for gardening, birding and giftware such as candles, leather purses, and decorative kitchenware. Fairy gardens are a big trend right now and we enjoy providing these supplies and ideas to our customers. We do all kinds of special gift ordering.”
“What we do well is one-on-one service,” adds Stroup.
Just down the road is Palmer Lumber, a complement to the Market Street Ace Hardware Store with building materials supplies for builders and contractors. “I have never worked for a company that takes care of its employees so well and provides such a high level of customer service,” shares Jim McDaniel manager of Palmer Lumber.
Stroup has similar feelings. “I’ve worked for the big box stores and it is so nice to have the opportunity to come back to a small town, work in a family atmosphere and help people. We don’t just build relationships with our customers over the years and help them with their projects but we help people in the community.”
Every August, Market Street Ace Hardware Store, Lincoln Creek Lumber Company and Palmer Lumber host their annual give back to the community event, called Paint the Town. Traditionally, one home in the community is selected to be painted by volunteers. This year two houses will be chosen.
“Every year we ask the community to nominate people who might be in need of some help
with their home. We dedicate a day to paint the exterior of the home with all the trim work and a bit of landscaping. This is a great volunteer event with employees from our company and volunteers from throughout the community.”
Community giving and celebrations has been an important value since the beginning of Lincoln Creek Lumber. Scott reminds customers new and old, “Our Centralia store is having a Guys Night Out the Saturday before Father’s Day which will include discounts, beer, brats, as well as prize drawings. We hope the community comes out to celebrate with us and tells us what project they are working on so we can give them any advice we can to finish the project completely, quickly and correctly. We want to be helpful.”
Lincoln Creek Lumber Ace Hardware
1621 Harrison Avenue
Centralia, WA 98531
Market Street Ace Hardware
771 South Market Boulevard
Chehalis, WA 98532
370 NW State Avenue
Chehalis, WA 98532